The undefeated Iowa 125-pounder pinned Nicholas Piccinini and had some very choice words after the match. Chad Leistikow
ST. LOUIS — Penn State is pulling away at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, but Iowa won’t go down without a fight.
In Thomas Gilman’s case, that concept may be taken literally.
The Hawkeyes ended Friday afternoon’s quarterfinal and consolation session in third place at the Scottrade Center, getting massive pins from Gilman at 125 pounds and Sam Brooks at 184.
"If you want to wrestle, let’s wrestle,” Gilman said after a testy fall over Oklahoma State’s Nick Piccininni. “If you have a problem with me, let’s settle it. If you can’t beat me on the mat, try and beat me in the parking lot.
“If you can’t beat me on the mat, I doubt you can do much with me in the parking lot.”
THOMAS GILMAN IN-DEPTH: Inside a complex character and immense wrestling talent
The Nittany Lions lead with 74 team points, followed by Ohio State at 59 and the Hawkeyes, who have 58. In addition to Gilman and Brooks, Iowa sent Cory Clark (133 pounds) and Brandon Sorensen (149) through to the semifinals. Michael Kemerer (157), Alex Meyer (174) and Cash Wilcke (197) were all alive in the consolation brackets.
“This is the NCAA tournament,” Brooks said after a dramatic third-period pin of Illinois’ Emery Parker. “That’s why you get the best wrestling at the crazy moments. You have to stay cool and keep wrestling.”
The Iowa 184-pounder was in bad shape until a stunning fall against Illinois' Emery Parker.
Oklahoma State and Cornell also put multiple wrestlers into the semifinals, but the Big Ten Conference trio at the top has taken a clear advantage. Iowa plans to win and get as close to the Nittany Lions as it possibly can.
“I need to relax and refocus on what I need to do,” Gilman said.
Cedar Valley stars at 149
Half of the NCAA semifinal field at 149 pounds will be made up of former high school stars from outside Waterloo and Cedar Falls. Sorensen and Northern Iowa’s Max Thomsen won four state titles at Denver-Tripoli and Union, respectively, and advanced after quarterfinal decisions Friday morning.
Sorensen was a runner-up last season to semifinal opponent Zain Retherford of Penn State. Thomsen is a redshirt freshman who has risen up from his No. 7 seed.
“It’s huge for the state of Iowa,” Sorensen said. “It just goes to show ... the things that they’re doing in high school and youth, Iowa is not a state to sleep on.”
The two never met in high school action, but Sorensen indicated he had competed against Thomsen’s older brother Logan, who is currently at Wartburg.
Former Iowa preps fighting in consolations
Three of Iowa’s old high school standouts wrestled into Friday for out-of-state teams.
Ankeny’s Ross Larson, Iowa City West’s Jack Hathaway and Sergeant Bluff-Luton’s Colton McCrystal all made it through Thursday for Oklahoma, Oregon State and Nebraska, respectively.
Larson ended his senior season in the third round of 285-pound consolations. Hathaway was eliminated a little earlier on the same mat at Scottrade Center — he was bounced via pin from the 141-pound bracket by Bucknell’s No. 15 seed Tyler Smith.
McCrystal made it to Friday night’s blood round by winning 12-4 and 8-5 over two seeded opponents. He is a junior seeded ninth for the Cornhuskers.
Cyclones bow out early
After one win and one team point, Iowa State’s postseason reached its end. Senior Lelund Weatherspoon was ridden out in a 3-0 loss to Wisconsin’s Jake Christensen in Friday afternoon’s consolation round, closing out the worst NCAA Championships performance in Cyclone history. Qualifiers Earl Hall (133 pounds) and Marcus Harrington (197) were eliminated Thursday after taking two straight losses. Weatherspoon won his first match, but couldn’t return to All-American form.
“When you’ve been wrestling a certain style for a long time and you’ve had success with it, you want to hold on to it,” Iowa State interim coach Travis Paulson said. “When you’re stressing scoring points, it’s a process and it doesn’t happen overnight.”
Iowa State's new head coach Kevin Dresser met with the media on Friday after the Cyclones completed their worst NCAA finish ever at the Scottrade Center. Chris Cuellar / The Register
Team Scoring Through Session III
1. Penn State 74; 2. Ohio State 59; 3. Iowa 58; 4. Oklahoma State 47.5; 5. Cornell 47; 6. Missouri 43.5; 7. Minnesota 39; 8. Virginia Tech 35; 9. Wisconsin 29; 10. Nebraska 27; Also: 15. Northern Iowa 20; T-57. Iowa State 1.